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Horse Articles :: Welsh Ponies & Cobs

Welsh Ponies and Cobs

Their early history dates back to before the Romans arrived, the Welsh Mountain Pony was living in a semi-wild state in the hills and valleys of Wales where the winters were severe and vegetation was sparse. Shelter from the weather was not much more than an isolated valley or a clump of bare trees. Their survival under these conditions has led to a remarkable soundness of body, tremendous endurance and a high degree of native intelligence.

A very versatile animal, Welsh Cobs were used for plowing fields; carrying a farmer to market; driving a family to church; and were even ridden by knights in the 15th Century. It is believed that the Welsh pony carries a trace of Arabian blood. However, their own physical characteristics over the centuries appear to be quite dominant. The Welsh crosses very well with many other breeds and this an important aspect of their unusual versatility.

The Welsh Pony & Cob Society was founded in 1901 in Wales, but was not established as a breed registry until 1907. All Welsh ponies and cobs found in the United States are descended entirely from animals registered with The Welsh Pony & Cob Society in the United Kingdom. There are several closely related varieties of the Welsh Pony & Cob, so the Welsh Stud book is divided into four sections and the ponies themselves are officially referred to as Section A, Section B, Section C and Section D to avoid confusion.

The Section A Welsh Pony is also known as the Welsh Mountain pony and has the stamina and soundness of his ancestors. With a friendly personality and even temperament, this pony is extremely intelligent and easily trained. A large, bold eye, tiny head, short back, strong quarters, high set on tail, fine hair, hocks that do not turn in, laid back shoulder, straight foreleg and short cannon bone. The Section A pony may not exceed 12.2 hands high.

The Section B was originally added to meet the demand for a slightly larger riding type pony. They are not to exceed 14.2 hands high but have no lower limit on height. They are well known for their elegant movement and athletic ability but still retain the hardiness of their foundation, which is the Section A. Physically and temperament-wise, they have the same characteristics as the Section A with the only real difference is that they are allowed to be 2 hands taller.

The Section C is also known as the Welsh Pony of Cob Type and may not exceed 13.2 hands high. They are strong, hardy and active with pony character with as much density of body as possible. They are known for their gentle nature. Physically, they have bold eyes, strong laid back shoulders, dense hooves, moderate quantity of silky feathering, lengthy hindquarters, and powerful hocks.

The Section D is also known as the Welsh Cob and exceeds 13.2 hands high with no upper limit on height. During the 15th century, a Welsh Cob was used to lead the mighty British fighting war horses called "destriers". Since the destrier's natural gait was the trot,

Welsh Cobs had to cover great distances while trying to match the war horse stride-for-stride when trotting. Now, the forceful ground covering trot of the cob is legendary. Their dense body substance made them popular ponies for the British infantry and for pulling their heavy guns and equipment through rugged terrain. The Welsh Cob was the quickest transport for doctors and businessmen in the days before the automobile. Today the Section D has become a popular choice for dressage, combined training and combined driving.

Welsh Cobs are known for their gentle nature. Physically, they are a strong and powerful animal and are extremely hardy and active with pony character and as much density of body as possible. They have bold eyes, strong laid back shoulders, dense hooves, moderate quantity of silky feathering, lengthy hindquarters, and powerful hocks.

There is also a designation for the Half-Welsh variety. These are offspring that have been produced by breeders of both fine light horses and smaller ponies who have successfully crossed their breeds with Welsh ponies and Cobs. Because Welsh ponies and Cobs have an unusually high prepotency, or capability for transmitting the best qualities to an offspring, apparently to the exclusion of the genes of the other parent, variety, or strain, they are often used to improve many performance breeds through carefully selected crossbreeding,

The Welsh breed is ideal for the growing child and has the spirit and endurance to challenge an adult. Today Welsh ponies and cobs can be found competing in nearly every discipline...hunters, driving, dressage, combined training, combined driving, English & Western pleasure and heavy harness.

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Crystal Eikanger writes for, classifieds.










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